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NBPU TIS Update: 4:12

29 November 2019


Winda-Mara Aboriginal Corporation provides services to the local Aboriginal communities in and around the far south west Victorian towns of Heywood, Hamilton and Portland. There are high levels of smoking in the local communities which the Winda-Mara TIS team are working to address through a range of population health promotion activities including:
•    Quit Champions;
•    Willan, Winda-Mara’s Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo Mascot;
•    Short films describing individual quit journeys;
•    TV commercials;
•     Quitboard showcasing behaviour change stories;
•    Youth programs.

Winda-Mara take the view that because different things work for different people, it is important to take a multi-level approach to population health promotion. They have however found that promoting Quit Champions is one activity that works really well across communities and age groups. This is because the champions are local community members, so they are recognised by community and people can relate to their stories. Quit Champions’ stories are displayed on posters, and these posters are very visible across the region, including Portland district hospital, Heywood hospital and at Winda-Mara medical centers. 
Community engagement and building capacity through this engagement is also an important part of the process for Winda-Mara. People are asked right at start of their quit journey if they will be able to share their story and become a Quit Champion. Interestingly, what started out as an educational tool now seems to have become a motivator and an incentive for individuals trying to quit.  People starting their quit journey want to share their story and educate others – they see it as a way they can support others and help their community to become healthier.

One example of a successful Quit Champion is Brian, a transport driver at Winda-Mara. Brian designed his own poster, which tells his personal story of how smoking has impacted his health to this day. Brian has asthma and needs $400 worth of medications a month to keep him breathing. Now he has quit smoking his medications are reducing and he is getting fitter. Brian is a great advocate for quitting smoking and will happily share his quit story with everyone. As a transport driver he has a lot of contact with community. Brain will have casual chat with people about his experience. It is a hard-hitting story that tells itself. Brian’s poster was also shared on Facebook which generated 100 views, 56 likes and 19 shares, showing great community engagement with their message.

Winda-Mara is positive about the move to a population health promotion approach to TIS, whilst also acknowledging the challenges this poses. They know the effort they are making is working, because they have data to show an increase in the proportion of non-smokers from 13.5% to 15.1%  in the first six month of the program. 



On the 15th & 16th October the Victoria and Tasmanian teams came together at the Koorie Heritage Trust in Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne. Participants traveled from Melbourne, Lakes Entrance, Tasmania, Dandenong, western regional Victoria, Aboriginal Quitline, DSS and Quit Tasmania.

On Tuesday 15th Penney Upton and Steve Fisher from the NBPU facilitated the workforce development day. This comprehensive interactive training looked at population health promotion approaches within the TIS program. This led into successful monitoring and evaluation techniques and measures. The application of these measures in relation to team activity work plans was then strengthened.

On Wednesday 16th it was the annual Victoria & Tasmania Jurisdictional workshop. Following on from the day before, participants examined how to build effective partnerships in TIS. Teams also contributed to the day with presentations from LEAHA from the Gippsland, and VAHS who work in northern Melbourne. The day was wound up by dynamic presentations from the Quitline liaison teams in both Melbourne and Tasmania.


Brooke & Jean from DDACL


On Wednesday 13th November Deb caught up with the dynamic team from Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operative Ltd. Based in Hallam the team covers an area east of Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula. Coordinator Chris has a team of four with strong community presence and qualifications in health promotion. They work closely in program planning and reporting.

The team are working closely with schools in the local area and have formed many partnerships with councils, youth groups, gathering places and local health organisations. The team are famous for their annual World No Tobacco Day Fun Run which is held in March because of more clement weather and better community involvement. The DDACL team also have a strong online presence. Their website, is currently being updated but check them out on Facebook



On Thursday 14th November Deb attended the Smoke Free & Deadly ACCHOs – Sharing Best Practice workshop at the Melbourne Polytechnic Centre. Facilitated by VACCHO, this informative gathering brought together those involved in tobacco control in Victoria.

Deb was on a panel that included Andrew Perusco from the Commonwealth Department of Health, and the team from Lakes Entrance. This panel allowed discussion around the TIS program and helping staff on their quitting journey. Other guest speakers included Emma Dean from Alfred Health, Glen Benton from Aboriginal Quitline and TIS team representatives. There was also an exciting presentation and traditional games from Spark Health run by former TIS members, Sarah Sheridan and Laura Thompson.


The latest 2019 jurisdictional workshop presentations are now available

Do you know someone looking for a job opportunity as part of the TIS workforce?  Have a look at the current roles available here...



Many of you may remember the fundraising campaign that Zibeon from Nganampa Health undertook in 2018.  He successfully completed a 62 km ultra marathon in the APY Lands and raised a whopping $50,000 towards Purple House an organisation that provides dialysis to some of Australia's most remote communities.  Congrats Zibeon on this well-deserved accolade and we know this is only one part of all you have done to help close the gap in indigenous communities.  For the full story please read here.

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